Responding to the announcement from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on support for UK universities during the crisis, Nick Hillman, Director of HEPI, said:
My overwhelming response is positive. Universities have been wanting a package of support to stabilise what they do since the crisis began. My hope is that it will instil confidence and allow institutions to plan ahead more sensibly by protecting the vital research that we need now as much as ever before.
There are lots of outstanding questions, such as how to apply for the new loans, what the terms are and when the money will arrive. Individual institutions that I have spoken to are also struggling to work out exactly what the complicated details are likely to mean for them specifically. But, above all, it looks like we now have a sensible set of proposals for research-heavy institutions from which to start the detailed conversations.
I still hope that the worst fears about recruitment of international students for 2020 will not come true, but that depends on the future of the pandemic as well as how quickly the UK can show our institutions remain fully open to people from around the world and how well we communicate the improved visa regime.